School Governors are one of the largest volunteer forces in the country. They have an important part to play in raising school standards through their three key roles of setting strategic direction, ensuring accountability and monitoring and evaluating school performance.

St Mary's has an active and enthusiastic group of Governors, and everyone brings different skills and roles to the group. The Governing Board is made up of 12 Governors, and has the general responsibility to make sure the school is being effectively managed and is meeting the needs of children, families, staff and the wider community.

We are responsible for all teaching appointments and setting the school's budget. As St. Mary's is a church school, St. Mary’s Church and Guildford Diocesan Board of Education appoint most of the Governors. Other Governors represent the teaching and non-teaching staff, the parents and the Local Authority. A list of Governors and who they are appointed by is below.

The Full Governing Board meets four times a year, and each Governor also sits on at least one committee that meets half termly. We currently have 2 main committees: Finance and Resources and Pupil Progress and Achievement. There are also a number of other committees who meet less regularly to cover areas such as Admissions and the Headeacher's Performance Review.

If you have any questions or queries please email:

The Constitution of the Governing Board

2 Parent Governors; 1 LA Governor (Vacancy); 1 Headteacher; 1 Staff Governor; 7 Foundation Governors (2 Vacancies) Clerk to Governors (Vacancy)

Mrs Samantha Vieitez  - Chair of Governors

I joined the school as a Foundation Governor in January 2015 through my connections with St Mary’s church. For my day job, I currently work full-time in the City as Head of Human Resources and Facilities for a small international bank. I have been with the Bank for over 12 years.

I became a governor at the school because I believe that every child should be afforded the opportunity to experience the best education that is available to them and having lived in Chessington for over 12 years I wanted to contribute something back to the local community and to make a difference. I stepped into the role of Co-Chair of Governors with Aaron Crompton in September 2016, which has been both immensely fulfilling and challenging. Working with the dedicated team at the school is an absolute privilege. I sit on the Finance and Resources Committee as this is where my core skills lie.  

I am also the link governor for Literacy and Health and Safety. At home, I have a husband, John and a daughter, Emilia and pet tropical fish: Sunny, Spotty, Salty & Seasalt. In my spare time I enjoy trying to keep fit, gardening, cooking and socialising. 

Appointed by: St Mary’s Church PCC Foundation Governor
Term of office: 28 January 2015 – 27th January 2019
Declarations of Interest: None declared
Committee Membership:  Pupil Progress, Finance & Resources, English and Health & Safety Governor

Attendance 2016/17: FGB 100% Committee 100%

Mrs Sara Carlton - Vice Chair of Governors 

I have been a Foundation Governor since March 2014. I currently work as a Deputy Head teacher at another Kingston school, where I have been employed for the past 17 years as an LSA, class teacher and now part of the senior leadership team. 

As a family we attend St Mary's C of E Church. During one family service it was mentioned that there was a vacancy for a Foundation Governor at the school. I approached Scott to discuss it further and put my name forward for the post. 

Both my children currently attend the school and it is hugely rewarding being able to be involved in the school; working closely with the leadership team to keep striving for the very best for every pupil. I recently took over as Chair of the Finance and Premises committee, as well as being the Safeguarding Governor for the school.

Appointed by: Diocesan Appointed Foundation Governor
Term of office: 6th September 2018 - 6th September 2022
Declarations of Interest: None declared
Committee Membership: Chair of Finance & Resource, Safeguarding Governor
Attendance 2016/17: FGB 100% Committee 100%

Mrs Gemma Rose 

I am a mother of two and my daughter Arya is in Cherry Class in September. We were thrilled when she got accepted at St Marys as it is where I started my education many years ago and I believe it gave me strong foundations both academically and pastorally on which to build.

Living in Chessington my whole life, I have always felt a strong sense of community and have strived to give back where I can. I have been running a Guide unit for the past 18 years and have enjoyed being able to encourage teenage girls to be independent and achieve what they think is unachievable.

I studied education with maths at the University of the West of England and have been teaching for over 10 years. Over the span of my career I have now taught all primary years, been team leader for various year groups and led many subjects including maths, ICT and music. I now teach 2 days a week at a local C of E school within the same diocese as St Mary’s.  I feel that working part time allows me to have a balance between my career and family life and thus will give me time to commit to the role of parent governor.  Having spent my working career within education I have a skill set which I believe is useful for this position and help to drive the school forward.

Appointed by: Parent Governor
Term of office: 22 May 2017 – 21 May 2021
Declarations of Interest: None declared
Committee Membership: Pupil Progress,  Maths and PPG Governor
Attendance 2017/18: FGB  100% Committee  100%

Mrs Eleanor Morris 

I have been a PCC Governor since 2013. My husband and I moved to Chessington in 2003. I'm currently a full time housewife and mother to two children aged 6 and 3.

I  work part time as an Ofsted registered childminder. Before having my children I worked in recruitment, office management and international customer services.

I applied to become a Governor at St Mary's after seeing the post advertised in the first news at church. Having children of school age I thought it would be a good way to learn more about the educational system and become more involved in school life. 

Appointed by: St Mary’s Church PCC Foundation Governor
Term of office: 27 November 2013 – 26 November 2017
Declarations of Interest: None declared
Committee Membership: Pupil Progress, EYFS and SEND Governor
Attendance 2016/17: FGB 100% Committee 99%

Mr Stephen Gowing 

I have been in builders’ merchant management for past 18 years and took a step down from management in August 2016 so I could spend more time with my family.

My son is at present in Cherry class. As a family, we attend St. Mary's C of E Church and have found this to be a wonderful community environment. In our spare time, we as a family like going to Brooklands museum and visiting National Trust places.

One Sunday after church during a conversation with Scott the subject of a position within the school governors came up and I expressed an interest as I feel I don't have enough to do with my child's education apart from the day-to-day routine. This I felt was a way for me to get involved and give something back for what the church and school have done for us.

Appointed by: St Mary’s Church PCC Foundation Governor
Term of office: 31 May 2017 – 30 May 2021
Declarations of Interest: None declared
Committee Membership: Finance & Resources, Health & Safety Governor
Attendance 2017/18: FGB 100% Committee  95%

Revd Scott Edwards 

As the Vicar of St Mary’s Church since 2012, I really value the strong links that exist between the School and St Mary’s Church. It has been a privilege to get to know the staff, parents and children of the school and to seek to play a part in helping the school to go from strength to strength. In my capacity as the Vicar of St Mary’s Church and as a School Governor, I am committed to helping the children to become the best that they can be by:

  • Encouraging the whole school to see each day as a gift to be enjoyed and embraced.
  • Inspiring in each child a love of learning so that they grow in wisdom as well as knowledge and therefore grow in confidence as they start to discover and develop their own special skills.
  • Forming a school community where our children grow in self-respect and respect for others based on our School’s five Christian Values of Respect, Honesty, Thankfulness, Kindness and Forgiveness.
  • Encouraging the children to be curious and fearless in asking big questions so that they can grow in their own beliefs and be open to learning from others.

As a Governor it is a joy to watch the children learning and growing during their time at St Mary’s and a privilege to seek to support the school and staff fulfil their vocation.

Appointed by: Ex-Officio Foundation Governor, Vicar of St Mary the Virgin parish Church
Term of office: N/A
Declarations of Interest: None declared
Committee Membership: Religious Education Governor
Attendance 2016/17: FGB 100% Committee N/A

Mrs Sarah Hodgson 

I am proud to have been the Headteacher and a Governor at St Mary’s since September 2015. I have been following a career in education since 2000 after graduating for a Post Graduate Certificate in Education, PGCE, at the University of Surrey, Roehampton.

Prior to this I worked for over 10 years as a Buyer for a large international retailer in London and I had my family. My husband and I have two grown up children who are happily independent but still keen to visit their Mum and Dad regularly!

Before joining St Mary’s, I qualified for my National Professional Qualification for Headship, NPQH; I worked at a large two form entry Primary School & Nursery, with SEN Language Unit, in Surrey, where I was the Deputy Headteacher and Assistant Headteacher. In a variety of roles as a Classteacher I particularly enjoyed working across Key Stage 2, including 6 years in Year 6.

St. Mary’s Chessington is a wonderful church school with passionate and well qualified staff who are able to work closely with the community for the children. I am delighted to have the opportunity to be a Governor here.  

Appointed by: Ex-Officio, Headteacher
Term of office: N/A
Declarations of Interest: None declared
Committee Membership: Pupil Progress, Finance & Resources
Attendance 2016/17: FGB 100% Committee 100%

Mrs Jennie Coles 

I am delighted to have been Deputy Headteacher at St Mary’s since January 2016.   I started working in education whilst my own children were in infant and primary school where I began by volunteering and then becoming a teaching assistant, both at primary and secondary level.  As a result of this experience, I trained to become a teacher and qualified with a teaching degree from St Mary’s University, Twickenham.   This was followed closely by graduating again from St Mary’s, this time with a Master Degree in Education.

Before joining St Mary’s, I taught in a Surrey Primary School as a Class Teacher and Middle Leader.   I particularly enjoyed working across key stage 2 and leading on RE, PSHE and helping the school to gain the Healthy Schools Award.

I am privileged to be able to work with such a dedicated and committed staff who care and nurture the children in their care and to represent them as the Staff Governor.   

Appointed by: Staff Governor, Deputy Headteacher
Term of office: 21 June 2016 - 20 June 2020
Declarations of Interest: None declared
Committee Membership: Pupil Progress
Attendance 2016/17: FGB 100% Committee 100%

Mrs Gemma Whitfield 

Appointed by: Parent Governor
Term of office: 21 December 2017 - 20 December 2021
Declarations of Interest: None declared
Committee Membership: Pupil Progress
Attendance 2017/18: FGB 100% Committee 100%

Clerk to Governors 

Appointed by: Clerk to Governors
Term of office: N/A
Declarations of Interest: None declared
Committee Membership: Pupil Progress, Finance & Resources
Attendance      : FGB    Committee